Things are really getting into the worse-before-it gets-better-stage, as my chest acne goes from being a small rash-like patch below my collar bone (about 10 to 15% coverage), to spreading in all directions and down between my breasts. My face, which went from having one or two spots; and my back, which was clear, suddenly decide they want in on the fun and explode with infections*. I'm cursing my skin, the Epiduo for burning my face off, and the world.
So after a week of Epiduo treatment my skin is red raw, on fire, and my face wants to peel off and leave all the trauma behind. I'm starting to get seriously embarrassed about going out in public, because I can't wear any makeup to hide the redness or peeling for fear of making my skin worse. At this stage my chest is about 40% acne-covered (60% clear), my back is about 40% covered, and my face is about 10% covered, relative to the Week 0. I've started taking the active pills of Estelle.
Woah! The pill must be kicking in; I am an emotional wreck, and go a little psychotic, needy and emotional. I've been on the pill previously, but that was a couple of years ago. I'm usually pretty balanced, mood-wise, but apparently the introduction of hormones into my system makes me go nuts. Quite depressed, and I now have about 60% back and chest coverage of acne, 15% face coverage, and have got a nodules coming up next to my nose, which is quite sore. Even though I know I'm supposed to leave everything alone, I am finding it really hard to. I stupidly attempt to clear out the nodule, which is very painful.
At this stage I start to do some research on acne, and realise I need to stop using the Dove soap as it can be drying, and be careful of products which have comedogenic (pore-clogging) ingredients. After some research, I look to avoid the following ingredients:
Soaps, sodium laureth and lauryl sulphates (SLS), exfolients, isopropyl- stuff, myristal- stuff, scents.
Oils (except jojoba and ?macadamia), isoproyl- stuff, myristal- stuff, scents, etc.
Note: the Cetaphil "Gentle" Skin Cleanser has SLS in it, which the pharmacy assistants didn't realise, so they were quite shocked and said they would no longer recommend that product. So it pays to read the ingredients list of anything you buy.
If I'd been in the US I would've ordered Dan's "The" Regimen, but since I'm international I settled on Cetaphil Gentle Cleansing Bar and Cetaphil Moisturising Lotion, which avoid the irritating ingredients. The gentle cleansing bar does have "masking fragrance" a fair way down the ingredient list, but at this stage I'm pretty happy with it.
A few days later I start feeling less crazed and more human, which is good, because it was pretty unpleasant to feel so emotional out of control of everything. Skin-wise I'm pretty unhappy though, as my skin is getting worse and worse. I now have about 80 to 85% acne coverage on my back, 70% on my chest, and as well as whiteheads, papules and pustules everywhere I have another nodule on the other side of my nose. The other side which I attacked has gone down a bit, but has an additional pustule infection on top of it now, which can't be cleared. Whoops!
*Again, excuse the melodrama.